South Dakota – Pease Creek Recreation Area

Pease Creek Recreation Area is located on Lake Francis Case. This large reservoir was created by the construction of the Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River, and the park has become a popular destination for folks looking to get away from it all for a day or longer. Wooded hills give visitors plenty of things to do including fishing, hiking and biking, or even horseback riding. Almost six hundred acres of wooded terrain offer tree-shaded campsites, some of which come with electrical hookups, and there are cabins available as well.

The Pease Creek Multi-use Trail is about three miles long, and it offers grass and dirt surfaces for biking, hiking, or horseback riding. In the winter, visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing through gently rolling hills. There are several steep grades, however, to test the skills of those who look for something a little more challenging. While there are no facilities along the trail, there is water and a comfort station located near the trailhead, and interpretive signs are posted at the trailheads and the primary intersections of the trail.

Two wildlife refuges have been established near Lake Francis Case, and are accessible from the Pease Creek Recreation Area. Bald eagles make their home near the lake during the winter and guests in the park may encounter rabbits or white-tailed deer, raccoons or beaver. For those who enjoy bird watching, pheasant, turkeys, and prairie chickens may be seen wandering through the forest or the grasslands of the park. Many other species of birds wing through the air or drift on the water of Lake Francis Case.

Of course one of the most popular pastimes in the park is fishing. Visitors can launch boats from the public ramps and then fish for Walleye, Northern Pike, Channel Catfish, Bass, and Crappie on Lake Francis Case. The Pease Creek Recreation Area offers some of the best fishing in the state. A fish cleaning station is available for use, too. And if the fish aren’t biting – which isn’t very often – those who boat on the lake can simply relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. Swimming and water skiing are two other activities that visitors can enjoy on the lake.

For those visitors who are interested in history, the park lies near the trail blazed by famous American explorers Lewis and Clark. Located at the nearby Fort Randall Visitor Center in Pickstown, South Dakota, are exhibits dedicated to these historical figures as well as to the cultural and natural history of the area. Campers or day visitors can make at stop at this popular site to learn about the early life of the explorers and settlers of the area.

The Pease Creek Recreation Area is located about nine miles south of Geddes off SD Highway 1804. Daily or annual entrance fees are available. For more information on the Pease Creek Recreation Area go to http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/pease-creek/.